Oxymoron o’ the Day (#FashionTruth Edition)

The hardworking staff always enjoys reading the New York Times Thursday Styles section because it’s so, well, Times-ish.

Exhibit Umpteen from yesterday’s edition:

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We’re happy for you.

But what really caught our eye was this full-page ad for ModCloth.


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Soup-to-nuts graf (from co-founder Susan G. Koger):


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This is just one more example of the Go-Girl Marketing trend detailed in the latest edition of Advertising Age. (Not to be confused with pinkwashing.)

Only problem is: Fashion is all about artifice, not truth. Even when it’s about truth. That’s the beauty of it.

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The Great Liberal ‘Overturn Citizens United’ Scam

Admittedly, the hardworking staff attended the Jerry Orbach School of Law (& Order) for only 12 years, but all this hubbub from the left about reversing Citizens United (the 2010 Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited expenditures by corporations, unions, and individuals to promote or oppose political candidates) seems to be perpetrating a fraud on the voting public.

Take, for instance, the absolute pandermonium in last night’s Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial debate. In her attempt to saddle every liberal hobbyhorse in the stable, Attorney General Martha Coakley repeatedly insisted that she has “worked hard to eliminate Citizens United.”

Except to eliminate Citizens United, one of two things has to happen: 1) the Supreme Court overturns its own decision (your stare decisis aside goes here) or 2) the U.S. Constitution is amended.

Worked hard on either of those, Ms. Coakley?

Ditto for yesterday’s Boston Globe Letter to the Editor from Anne Borg and Marilyn Peterson of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

Put up a fight vs. super PAC money

THANK YOU for calling attention to the outsize role super PAC money is poised to play in the Massachusetts governor’s race (“Follow the money,” Capital, Aug. 29). We urge citizens to demand that their senators and representatives in Congress pursue every avenue to stop the corrupting influence of big money on our political system. Tell them to change the campaign finance laws, reverse recent Supreme Court decisions permitting the unfettered flow of money, and establish public funding of elections to replace private purchasing of elections.

Tell Congress to reverse recent Supreme Court decisions? Seriously?

Refresher course in amending the Constitution:

The United States Constitution is unusually difficult to amend. As spelled out in Article V, the Constitution can be amended in one of two ways. First, amendment can take place by a vote of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate followed by a ratification of three-fourths of the various state legislatures (ratification by thirty-eight states would be required to ratify an amendment today). This first method of amendment is the only one used to date. Second, the Constitution might be amended by a Convention called for this purpose by two-thirds of the state legislatures, if the Convention’s proposed amendments are later ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures.

Good luck with that, eh? It’s a lot easier to just dupe the true believers, isn’t it?

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Why the Wall Street Journal Is a Great Newspaper (Tim Horton Edition)

The media coverage of  the Burger King/Tim Hortons merger rumpus has generally been devoid of one thing: Who the hell is Tim Horton?

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal helpfully provided the answer, compliments of Gerald Eskenazi.

The Real Tim Horton

Amid the media attention to Burger King Worldwide’s plan to buy the Canadian coffee-and-doughnuts chain Tim Hortons Inc. for about $11 billion, I keep wondering: Does anyone involved know who Tim Horton was?

I got to know Tim Horton, perhaps the finest hockey defender of ED-AS619_ESKENA_G_20140901180140his day, when he became a New York Ranger late in the 1969-70 season and I was a sportswriter covering the team for the New York Times. By then the future Hockey Hall of Fame member had put in nearly 19 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, skated with four Stanley Cup champions, and played more games than any defenseman in National Hockey League history. And he was different from any hockey player I had met.

And more successful than most hockey players in the business world, thanks to his chain of 18 Tim Horton Donut shops. But then, this . . .

His franchise business had blossomed Canada-wide, but the old pro was helping a young, on-the-rise Buffalo team. In February 1974, the Sabres played a game in Toronto and left on the team bus to return home. Tim had permission to come back on his own. He drove a customized sports car that had been a gift from the Sabres’ general manager when Tim signed with the club. Reports varied on what happened, but this much seems clear: The car was traveling at more than 100 miles an hour; Tim had a high blood-alcohol level; and he had taken painkillers after being hit in the jaw in practice a few days before. He died in a one-car crash in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Sadly, “[t]he Tim Horton story has no happy ending, and the company that bears his name does little to acknowledge him.”

But the Journal did.

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NYT Starting a DIY Desk?

Major takeout on military hospitals on Page One of the New York Times today.

Smaller Military Hospitals Said to Put Patients at Risk


HINESVILLE, Ga. — Every year, more than 25,000 Americans undergo surgery to correct a hiatal hernia, a condition in which tissue from the stomach bulges into the chest cavity through a hole in the diaphragm. The hernias often return, but major complications are rare. Hospital stays are usually short.

Irene Smith, a 42-year-old cafeteria worker, wife of an Army sergeant and mother of three, was considered a good candidate for the procedure when she was evaluated in late 2007. A cardiologist’s report was especially positive. “Lost about 25 pounds, exercising daily, looks fantastic,” he wrote.

But more than a dozen operations later, Mrs. Smith has lost her stomach, her health, her job and almost all semblance of a normal life. She must purée most of her food. From her esophagus to her intestines, she is such a jumble of abnormalities that two years ago one specialist declined to treat even her chronic cough for fear of making her worse.

“I do not mean to be rude or disrespectful,” she recalled him saying, “but I would not touch you with a 10-foot pole.”

Most people who read this story would likely say the same of the 40 hospitals nationwide run by the armed forces. This is one sad/scary/sickening report. And at the end of it, there’s this (tip o’ the pixel to Politico Playbook):

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And this:


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Politico calls it “reader-sourcing.” Be interesting to hear what the Public Editor calls it.

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Headscratching Stats o’ the Weekend

The hardditzing staff (mistakenly) thought Labor Day Weekend meant you should work all three days, so here are some of the startling statistics we came across.

• From the New Republic’s 9/15 edition (sorry, no link: #TNRblows):

Most Americans can name their president. But according to a survey conducted by Georgetown University’s Dan Hopkins, only 35 percent can identify their mayor.

Seriously? Sixty-five percent of Bostonians don’t know that Marty Walsh is the mayah? That’s just hard to believe.

• But this is not. From Joel Stein’s 8/21 Time column:

Since I graduated in 1993, it has become uncool to major in the humanities. In 2010, 7% of U.S. graduates majored in one of the liberal arts, compared with 14% in 1966, which, percentage-wise, is some number I don’t understand, since I majored in English. A third fewer Harvard freshmen are interested in the humanities than the freshmen 10 years ago, and while nearly half the faculty at Stanford teach humanities, fewer than 20% of applicants are interested in taking their classes.

That bodes ill, eh? Then again, the hardworking staff majored in Greek and Latin, so what the hell do we know.

• According to TV Guide, Jon Stewart makes $25-30 million a year, Judge Judy Sheindlin makes $47 million, and Bill O’Reilly makes $18 million.


Then again, the hardworking staff majored in Greek and Latin. So what the hell do we make.

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Round Midnight at the Global Worldwide Headquarters (Flying Burrito Brothers Memphis Edition)

Next in a series of live music performances the hardwatching staff has enjoyed (via YouTube) at end of day

Back in 1971, the hardsmoking staff glommed on to the Flying Burrito Brothers – one of the endless Byrds spinoffs (we’ll get to Dillard & Clark soon) – and never let go, thanks to tunes like this:



And this:



All hail, Sneaky Pete Kleinow.

Recently, the hardclicking staff came across this 1970 Burritos gig at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis.




01 Lazy Days 00:00
02 One Hundred Years From Now 04:14
03 My Uncle 07:08
04 Cody, Cody 09:24
05 Christine’s Tune (aka Devil In Disguise) 12:13
06 Tried So Hard 16:03
07 Willie And The Hand Jive 19:38
08 Image Of Me 22:48
09 Six Days On The Road 26:13
10 Colorado 29:37
11 Hot Burrito #2 34:15
12 Money Honey 38:41

It’s all good.

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Jason Gay’s Sweet Farewell to His Dad

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay is one of the funniest newspaper columnists around.  (See here for further details.)

But his piece in Friday’s Journal was more poignant than piquant, since it was a valediction for his father, Ward Gay.

From Dad, a Game for Life

“Run with your racket back,” Dad would say. “Be ready for anything.”

It’s a message I never forgot. For 40 years, my father, Ward Gay, was a tennis coach, at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Cambridge, Mass., the city where he grew up. When he BN-EH754_0828ga_G_20140828154919started, rackets were wood. The No. 1 men’s player in the world was Ilie Nastase. My dad studied tennis bibles written by Rod Laver, Bud Collins and Harry Hopman, and taught himself the rest through years of little victories and mistakes.

He liked natural gut string, one-handed backhands, the serve-and-volley, the chip-and-charge. He was also a science teacher at the high school, and he enjoyed how tennis was a game that rewarded mental acuity as well as physical skill. His favorite tennis maxim was the well-known adage he borrowed and passed on to every player: You’re only as good as your second serve.

Ward Gay lost his match with pancreatic cancer about a week ago. This could be his epitaph: “He loved to teach a student a sport he could play for the rest of his life.”

But this is his sendoff from his sons.

Last Thursday, Aug. 21, in a Boston hospital that overlooked a pair of beautifully ragged tennis courts on the Charles River, my dad died. He was 70 years old.

The next day, my brother and I walked down the street to the courts we grew up on. We pulled out a couple of our father’s old rackets we’d uncovered in the garage, and hit like we used to hit when we were young. Dad had given us and so many others a sport we could play for the rest of our lives, but his reach was much more than that. We ran with our rackets back, ready for anything.

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Welcome to Boston’s Museum of Fine Apps

During his two-decade tenure as director of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Malcolm Rogers has consistently strained to stretch the locals’ definition of art, from the photographs of Herb Ritts to the motorcars of Ralph Lauren.

Now, as Rogers prepares to sing his swan song, it turns out there’s an app for that.

MFA press release:


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Not exactly Marina Abramovic eyeballing civilians at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, but it’ll do until, we dunno, Miley Cyrus sits naked on the Big Baby Heads in front of the MFA’s Fenway entrance.

How Abramovic would that be?

Hey, Malcolm – you feeling us?

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Nike Pimps Out Air(time) Jordan at U.S. Open

Product placement is no longer just a function of plunking down a Starbucks mug on the set of MSNBC’s Morning Joe or handing Seinfeld’s Kramer some Junior Mints.

That’s so 1.0, yo.

Welcome to Product Placement Umpteen.0, yo.

From yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

Game, Set, Product Match for Nike

Michael Jordan’s appearance at Roger Federer‘s first-round match at the U.S. Open wasn’t a simple case of one sports legend cheering on another.

Instead, it was a carefully arranged marketing grand slam for MK-CO937_JORDAN_G_20140827174348-553x290sponsor Nike Inc. —a product- placement coup that pulled in both stars and piqued the interest of the ESPN broadcast team.

The point of Mr. Jordan’s presence at the match, coordinated by Nike executives, was to promote a new limited edition of Mr. Federer’s line of tennis shoes. The white and cement-patterned NikeCourt Zoom Vapor AJ3′s feature Air Jordan styling and logos. Mr. Federer wore them in Tuesday’s match, and they went on sale Wednesday.

Here’s a taste of ESPN’s shoe-licking . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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Confessions of a Journo-Sneak

As the hardtracking staff has previously noted, journalists have been two-time losers in the ShutterstockWastepaperMoneyBasketnative advertising dodge. They’re either 1) bypassed by their publications (a good thing in our estimation, a bad thing in their bank accounts), or 2) hired to compromise themselves for pennies on the dollar.

Now comes the real-life story of one such compromiser.

From Digiday (via FishbowlNY):

Confessions of a journalist moonlighting as a native ad writer: ‘I’m not proud’

At a time when good-paying freelance assignments are harder to come by, many journalists are heeding the call of native advertising, where the pay is decent and the work is steady. But there’s a cost. Many worry about the impact on their credibility as a journalist. Some are even finding they aren’t so welcome back in newsrooms once they work for the business side.

In the latest in Digiday’s “Confessions” series, we talked to a veteran freelance writer who has written for top women’s magazines and other national publications about the dark side of native. In this case, the journalist was working for a publisher’s content studio, which assigned stories a given client wanted written.

Turns out, in some cases the pay’s not so bad after all . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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